Royal Lao Air Force Aircraft
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Royal Lao Air Force

Aircraft Types


Aero Commander 560 * Retired *
One former USAF L-26A/U-4 was part of the Aviation Laotienne inventory. It was taken over in 1960, and operated until 1973/1974. See entry under Aviation Laotienne for more background information.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
2714 560-214 55-2714 1960 RDPL-34004, to N92619 Sept 1981

References:

  • World Air Forces Directory 2006/07 (Mach III)


Antonov An-2 Colt * Retired *
Three delivered in December 1962. They were rarely used, and were grounded in 1963.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
?     Dec 1962  
?     Dec 1962  
?     Dec 1962  

References:

  • TBA


Bell UH-1 Iroquois * Retired *
Six UH-1D and eight UH-1H were reported as being delivered during the early 'seventies. It appears that at least one UH-1C was also included.
Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
66-15094 1822     UH-1C, Preserved Vientiane 2003
72-21601       UH-1H, noted June 1974
72-21602       UH-1H, noted June 1974
72-21603       UH-1H, noted June 1974
72-21604       UH-1H, noted June 1974

References:

  • World Air Forces Directory 2006/07 (Mach III)


Cessna L-19A Bird Dog * Retired *
Six L-19A aircraft carried over from the Aviation Laotienne inventory. Used a trainers. In 1962 the L-19A was redesignated O-1A. Withdrawn circa 1975.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
?     1960  
?     1960  
?     1960  
?     1960  
?     1960  
?     1960  

References:

  • TBA


Cessna O-1F Bird Dog * Retired *
Fifteen delivered in 1969. Apparently never used for FAC duties, serving instead as ab Initio trainers at the Air Training Command (ATC) at Savannakhet. No serial numbers known.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  

References:

  • TBA


Cessna T-41B Mescalero * Retired *
Of the ten delivered, five were allocated to the Air Training Command at Savannakhet. Presumably, the Cessnas were also used for liaison and light transport duties or squadron hacks.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  
?     1969  

References:

  • TBA


Cessna U-17A Skywagon * Retired *
Four were delivered to the RLAF under MAP. Initially, they were used for flight screening at Savannakhet. They were also used on FAC missions, but by the Ravens rather than RLAF pilots. The RLAF never had pilots trained exclusively for FAC duties. The first RLAF pilot to receive FAC training (in 1969) was destined never to control an air strike.

Seven U-17B Skywagons were used by the Ravens for FAC and PsyWar duties.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
64-17796     2 Oct 1964 Fate unknown
64-17797     2 Oct 1964 Crashed on take-off at Wattay, Oct 11, 1965. The cause of the crash was locked controls, due to pre-flight checklist not being used.
65-10853     28 May 1965 Destroyed in mid-air collision, Apr 29, 1971 with Air America Pilatus PC-6 N180K, one kilometre north of Moung Nham (LS-63). Both of the U-17 crew were killed, along with the Air America pilot
65-10584     196? not current on April 1, 1972. fate unknown

References:

  • TBA


Curtiss C-46 Commando * Retired *
A sizeable fleet of Curtiss C-46 Commandos were operated in Laos by various US companies, including Air America. It is possible that one or two aircraft, operated by the civilian airline Royal Air Lao, were leased by the RLAF.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
?     196?  

References:

  • TBA


Douglas AC-47D Spooky * Retired *
In 1969 it was planned to convert four C-47s to AC-47 standard, but this plan was abandoned when 8 former SVNAF C-47s became available (five in July 1969, the last in October 1969), and 5 were converted into gunships by late September 1969. Although initial operations proved to be somewhat disappointing, the experience of the AC-47D crews grew rapidly. In December 1969 a further eight AC-47Ds were transferred to the RLAF after the de-activation of the USAF's 3rd SOS in Vietnam. By January 1970 a total of thirteen AC-47s, generally known under their USAF call sign "Spooky", were in use. Although deemed a success, two had been lost by mid 1970, including one aircraft on June 27. Only nine aircraft remained in service by late 1970. It is possible that additional USAF AC-47D gunships were recieved in 1970 and 1972. By 1973, two of the eight available aircraft had their armament removed, and were transferred to ordinary airlift and supply operations.

The batch of USAF AC-47Ds supplied in 1969 included aircraft drawn from 348263 (43-263), 51117 (117), 349211, 349423, 349516, 476370, 50927, 51047, 51057, 51121.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
348909 14725/26170   Sept 1969 AC-47D, 43-48909, ex-SVNAF
?     Sept 1969  
?     Sept 1969  
?     Sept 1969  
?     Sept 1969  
117 17120/34387   Dec 1969 AC-47D, 45-1117, ex-USAF 51117
O-43263 14079/25524   Dec 1969 AC-47D, 43-48263, 348263, ex-SVNAF, '43-263'
?     Dec 1969  
?     Dec 1969  
?     Dec 1969  
?     Dec 1969  
?     Dec 1969  
?     Dec 1969  
51121 17124/34391 45-1121 5 Jan 1970 AC-47D, ex-USAF

References:

  • The Douglas DC-1/DC-2/DC-3: The First Seventy Years (Air-Britain)


Douglas C-47 Skytrain * Retired *
The first C-47s in RLAF service were 6 aircraft taken over from the Aviation Laotienne. The venerable C-47s provided the mainstay of the RLAF airlift and transport capability. Additional aircraft from the USA brought the total to 16 aircraft by late 1968. Eight aircraft were obtained from the SVNAF in 1969 and three of these were not converted into gunships. By late 1970, the RLAF is reported to have had 34 C-47s on strength, including 9 AC-47s. At least one aircraft was provided by Australia in 1971. Between 1973 and 1975, some were transferred to Thailand, with s/n 45-1127 entering service with the Royal Thai Navy.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
322 15906/32654   ? 44-76322, ex-USAF
501 15317/26762   5 Dec 1960 43-49501, ex-USAF
563        
565 25826 or 26826   ?  
632 16216/32964   ? 44-76632, ex-SVNAF
976 13608   11 Jul 1964 42-108976, ex-USAF
991 16994/34256   10 Aug 1956 45-991, ex AdlA, to Singapore AF?
998 9998   28 Aug 1971 42-24136, RAAF A65-16, VH-AFF, donated by Aust Govt
24178 10040   10 Sept 1963 42-24178, ex-USAF, noted 1988
30678 13829   7 Sept 1963 43-30678, ex-USAF
O-48159 13975/25420 43-48159 17 July 1964 C-47B, 43-48159, ex-USAF, '159', to Thai AF
49356 15172/26617 43-49356 10 Aug 1956 ex-AdlA, noted Mar 1971, wfu by 1982, to Thai AF?
49468 15284/26729 43-49468 1978+ ex-AdlA
51127 17130/34397 45-1127 ? ex-USAF, noted Sep 70 - July 71, to R Thai Navy
76510 16094/32842 ? ? 44-76510, ex-Cambodian AF, noted Aug 1970
76644 16228/32976 44-76644 11 Oct 1962 ex-USAF
100937 19400   Dec 1966 42-100937, ex IDF/AF '06', to Cambodia AF 1967
348704 14520/25965   Dec 1970 43-48704, ex SVNAF
349129 14945/26390   10 Aug 1956 43-49129, ex-AdlA
349685 15501/26946   10 Aug 1956 43-49685, ex-AdlA
?        
?        
?        
?        
?        
?        
?        
?        
?        
?        
?        
?        
?        
?        
?        
?        
?        

References:

  • The Douglas DC-1/DC-2/DC-3: The First Seventy Years (Air-Britain)


Fairchild C-123K Provider * Retired *
Ten C-123K's were delivered to the RLAF in 1973. All were former Air America aircraft. They were used on airlift operations until the Pathet Lao take over in 1975.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
54-0577 20026   June 1973  
54-0616 20065   May or June 1973  
54-0617 20066   1 Nov 1973  
54-0671 20120   1969 Used for training between Nov 1-30, 1973. Transferred to the RTAF in 1975? Reported as being the C-123 used in the crash scene in "Air America" movie. A C-123 carrying the USAF s/n 54-0671 was noted at Titusville, FL, in 2003.
55-4545 20206   June 1973  
55-4546 20207   July 1973  
55-4556 20217   1973  
55-4576 20237   1 Dec 1973 Reported as transferred to the RTAF as s/n 576A, also with the RTAF s/n L4k-20/19. The RTAF s/n /19 indicates that it was delivered in the year 2517, ie 1974.
56-4386 20270   May or June 1973  
54-0636 20085   July 1973  

References:

  • TBA


Lisunov Li-2 Cab * Retired *
Three Li-2s were received in December 1962. These aircraft were in addition to the three aircraft each given to the Kong Le and Pathet Lao forces. Rarely used, due to lack of proper aircrew training. The Soviet training mission left Laos after six months, and the Li-2s were grounded shortly afterwards. Apparently, their hulks remained at Wattay for years before being scrapped.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
?     Dec 1962  
?     Dec 1962  
?     Dec 1962  

References:

  • TBA


Mil Mi-4  * Retired *
One Mi-4 was received from the USSR in May 1962. The Mi-4 soon became unserviceable due to lack of spares. The airframe was abandoned at Wattay and still visible in the late 1960s.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
?     May 1962  

References:


North American T-6G Texan * Retired *
The first four T-6's arrived at Wattay on January 9, 1961, being on loan from the RTAF. Two days later, on January 11, they flew their first mission. As the RLAF didn't have enough qualified T-6 pilots, RTAF volunteer pilots flew a considerable number of strike missions. At least five aircraft were lost, one T-6 being shot down by ground fire on January 17. Another T-6 crashed on March 11 during a training flight. On the following day, two T-6's collided in mid-air, with a fifth T-6 being shot down on March 31 by 12.7mm ground fire. The RTAF pilot was rescued by an Air America helicopter.

During April 1962, four T-6 Texans were deployed to the northwestern town of Luang Prabang, to support Royal Lao Army operations. Perhaps more importantly, the Texans were deployed to Luang Prabang with the aim of attempting to intercept any of the Soviet or North Vietnamese transport aircraft which were dropping supplies to the Pathet Lao. Perhaps more by chance than intention, one Iljushin Il-14 Crate was encountered during a mission, and severly damaged. The RLAF pilot, Lt Khamphanh, managed to hit the Il-14's right engine with a rocket. It was later learned, through radio intercepts, that the Il-14 had crashed, killing the two Russian pilots.

By August 1963, the last remaining T-6's, which apparently were unserviceable, were airlifted back to Thailand and returned to the RTAF.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
'2'     9 Jan 1961  
?     9 Jan 1961  
?     9 Jan 1961  
?     9 Jan 1961  
?     196?  
?     196?  
?     196?  
?     196?  
?     196?  
?     196?  
?     196?  
?     196?  
?     196?  
?     196?  
?     196?  

References:

  • TBA


North American RT-28B Trojan * Retired *
Five former VNAF aircraft were transferred to the "Waterpump" training programme in May 1964. "Waterpump" was based at the RTAF base Udorn. The RT-28Bs, along with standard T-28 strike aircraft, were being replaced by A-1 Skyraiders in VNAF service. Five T-28s arrived as well. Of these ten aircraft, four were retained by "Waterpump" and the remaining six were transferred to the RLAF. The RT-28Bs were equipped with cameras, therefore providing theRLAF with a limited photo reconnaissance capability.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  

References:

  • TBA


North American T-28D Trojan * Retired *
If the RLAF operations between 1964 and 1975 were to be represented by one type of aircraft, it would be the N.A. T-28D Trojan. It was the most numerous type of aircraft in service, with about 150 being delivered. Countless strike missions were flown by RLAF pilots against the Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese troops. The RLAF losses of both pilots and aircraft on operations as well as accidents were high. Although new RLAF T-28 pilots were churned out at Udorn, the losses seemed to average the number of new pilots available. Apart from aircraft shot down by ground fire, the RLAF suffered a number of losses during base attacks. On February 2, 1967, six T-28s were destroyed, with three more being damaged at Luang Prabang in a "disastrously successful" NVA rocket attack. Just over four months later, on July 16, nine T-28s were destroyed at Luang Prabang by satchel charges placed by the NVA. About 75 T-28s were in service in 1969, their numbers being depleted through operational losses and accidents. By early 1973, the RLAF had a total of 56 T-28s on strength.

After the signing of the Paris Peace Treaty, 16 T-28s were transferred to the Philippines AF. Of the remaining 40, about 29 were taken over in 1975 by the Pathet Lao. The last RLAF offensive operation occured on April 14, 1975, when a vital road junction just north of Vientiane had been captured by the Pathet Lao. The attack, performed by nine T-28s, was ordered by the Royal Lao Government Defence Minister, who hadn't secured permission from the Prime Minister in this matter. As a result of the public berating of the Defence Minister, the RLAF became de facto grounded.

Apart from regular RLAF T-28 operations, a squadron of Hmong pilots operated T-28s from Long Tieng from 1967. The creation of this aerial unit was the brain-child of the Hmong general Vang Pao. RTAF pilots flew missions over Laos as well. These missions were codenamed "Firefly".

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
0-28270     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  

References:

  • TBA


Sikorsky UH-34D  * Retired *
From 1964 until the early 'seventies, a total of 42 Sikorsky UH-34D's were supplied to the RLAF. Twenty-four are said to have been transferred from the VNAF, with the remaining being either former Air America or CIC helicopters. During the early 'sixties, the helicopter force of the RLAF was in its infancy, with only a few French Alouette II & III's being in service. The UH-34D provided an airlift capacity and mobility for the Royal Lao armed forces. However, as Air America and USAF helicopters conducted transport as well as SAR missions over Laos, the RLAF UH-34D force was underutilized. By the 1973 Paris Peace Treaty, 21 RLAF UH-34D's were transferred to the RTAF, with two more being delivered to the Philippines. At least four were lost, including one on October 25, 1970.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  
?     1964  

References:

  • TBA


SNIAS 3130 Alouette II * Retired *
Six reported as delivered, possibly already in 1959. Withdrawn from use in 1964. Very little information on their service in Laos has come to light.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
?     1960?  
?     1960?  
?     1960?  
?     1960?  
?     1960?  
?     1960?  

References:

  • TBA


SNIAS 3160 Alouette III * Retired *
Delivered from France in 1963 and withdrawn from use the following year. No c/ns or serial numbers are known. In all probability, the Alouette II and III helicopters saw comparatively little use.

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
?     1963  
?     1963  
?     1963  

References:

  • TBA


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First Created: 14 February 2004 - Last Revised: 14 April 2007
Copyright © 2004 Jan Forsgren.     e-mail: john@aeroflight.co.uk